100CCC SS5K B2B
Day 5 (SS5K): Barstow, CA Loop
The next day was a simple ride. We slept in until about 9:00 to catch up on some well deserved sleep. We then needed to get 350 miles in that day to complete the 5000 miles in 5 days run. We decided to head to Barstow. Charlie had picked out a path that would ensure we got the miles in we needed and we set out in the heat again to do an easy ride.
We tried to find a gas station near the hotel. That was more of a challenge than we thought it would be but we found one and got on the way. Out into the heat again but not like the day before. Before we knew it we were in a traffic jam. We decided that we needed a receipt at that point and I needed to hit a Walmart to replace the cap on my water jug that I left in Yuma the previous day. I was also trying to find a Roady2 radio as my second one had fried. I learned that you can't run them inside an Aqua Box or they just fry. Oh well. My search for the water bottle lid was successful but there were no Roady2's to be had and I tried a few stores before I gave up. We grabbed some McDonalds also. I find that breakfast burritos are handy and easy to eat on the bike. Also the front fairing pocket keeps them nice and warm. I have a hard time getting my stomach going in the morning so dry snacks won't do it in the morning. Breakfast burritos are just the trick for me because they are quick and easy.
We made our way up to Barstow and headed back to the hotel. We used the same gas station and got our final receipt. We then headed over to the local Applebee's to get some food and a couple witnesses for the end of our ride. It's fun looking at people's expressions when you ask them to sign a witness form and explain what you just did. They were both happy to help us out and verified our odometers and then signed our paperwork. Number 2 was done and it was 5K in 5 days.
That morning Charlie had let me know that he would not be able to do the border to border ride that we had setup for this trip to complete the tri-fecta of certificates. However he had already arranged for witnesses in Blaine, Washington right next the Canadian Border though in case I was going to do it. Charlie needed to get home and wouldn't be able to do it in time if he went to Canada. I understood and I was mentally prepared to do the ride on my own so it was disappointing that we couldn't do the whole trip together but that's just how things work. It was 2000 miles for me to get home no matter if I was in San Diego or Seattle. The good thing was that Charlie could be my witness to start the Border to Border ride.
I headed back to the hotel to catch a couple hours of sleep as I planned to start my ride at the Mexico border in Otay Mesa at 8:00pm. We had been told by a few different people on the LD list that Otay Mesa is the place to use rather than the regular crossing at Tijuana. It's a smaller crossing and most of the traffic is trucks. It's only about 8 miles from the Tijuana crossing and is easy to get to and to get in and out of. There is also a Shell gas station right next to the border.
We left the hotel around 6:30pm or so and starting heading down. As we got further south there were signs up pointing us towards Otay Mesa. I knew that this was not good. It turned out that I would be correct. A US border crossing guard shot a driver as they tried to cross the border smuggling illegal immigrants into the US. This was right on the tail of the president visiting the area earlier in the week. We found this out while we ended up waiting for almost 2 hours in line waiting to get into Mexico. I knew I was going to have a hard time with proof of being in Mexico and I had heard horror stories of the street that lead to the nearest store with good receipts was littered with potholes. Not little everyday potholes. These are potholes that would swallow your front wheel. I had heard of at least two people who had dumped their bike on that road. There was no way I was going into Mexico alone and at night with the fear of some sort of retaliation against Americans because of the shooting. At that point I was convinced that I would be able to get pictures of my bike on the Mexican side of the border even though I knew that taking pictures at the border crossing is not aloud.
After sitting in line for about an hour and with no real progress in getting to the border I really lost it and I'm sure Charlie was glad to be there but I warned him ahead of time. I really lost it. I was ticked as hell about having to wait through that line and what kept going through my mind is that this was risking me making the trip on time. Even though I was not on the clock it was the arrival time in the Seattle that concerned me. This was going to risk putting me in the middle of Friday afternoon rush hour. After beating the crap out of my tank bag for a while I got it out of my system. I'm sure it had some to do with the fatigue that was building from the days of being on the road also. I got it out of my system though and made it to the border. Charlie cut off at the last exit and went over to the Shell to wait for me to get back across into the US. We had no idea how long it would take me to get back across. If it was another 2 hours I didn't know what I would do.
When I went across the border I decided to try and see if I could get a border guard to sign a witness form but when I started to ask they asked me to open my top box and proceeded to search my top box. After they were finished with that they told me to get going. I decided asking them for help was not going to happen so I cut over to the other side of the barrier and pointed myself towards the US crossing. I captured a few pictures on the Mexican side of the border but it was hard to make out much because of the bright lights at the border crossing. I managed to snap a few pictures without using the flash and drawing attention to myself. I got the bike, my license plate, and the US flag to the right of the crossing all in the same shot. Hopefully that holds as proof. It was hectic to go through that so hopefully it was worth it. I answered a few questions to get back across and I was back in the US within a few minutes. I think most of the border guards were ticked because of all the traffic they had to deal with that evening. I snapped one more picture of the Otay Mesa building as the guard flashed his light at me and told me to get going. Man it was nerve racking to try and get some pictures for proof. No matter, it would have to do so I made my way to the Shell station where Charlie was waiting. He was surprised to see me so quickly. Good thing I bought that Mexico Insurance for the whole 15 minutes I was in Mexico. Just for your information you can buy insurance right at the border next to the Shell station if you need it. We purchased insurance online in case we needed it from MexInsurance.com, a site that we got from others that had used it on the LDRider list.
We conversed for a little while after I filled up, got my receipt, and filled out my paperwork. It was the parting of ways at that point as Charlie would head back to the hotel to get some well deserved sleep and I would cut into the night around LA and make my way towards Canada. It was a little hard to ride off and split ways but I kept focused on the 1400+ mile ride I had ahead of me. We had accomplished a lot over the past 5 days but I still had another challenge ahead of me to focus on. We hit the split where we parted ways, both waved, and then I was on my own to finish this part of the journey.
Chapter 9: Day 6 (B2B): Otey Mesa, Mexico to Surrey, British Columbia